• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
EU gun plans 'could criminalize collectors'
Gas guns would have to be registered under the proposals. Photo: LPD Wien

EU gun plans 'could criminalize collectors'

The Local · 11 Jan 2016, 14:02

Published: 11 Jan 2016 14:02 GMT+01:00

The terror attacks in Paris in January and November last year have given new urgency to the debate on tougher gun laws, with EU leaders saying in December they would "rapidly examine" the proposals, with the aim of approving them at a summit in February.

European officials say gun laws passed in 2008 are inadequate, and leave Europe "vulnerable to criminal activity" and terrorist attacks.

If the new law is adopted more categories of semi-automatic weapons will be subject to an outright ban.

EU countries will still be able to issue licenses for some semi-automatic rifles for hunting, collecting and museums - although licensed gun owners would have to take a medical test every five years to establish if they are fit to own a gun, something Austria's gun lobby has termed “harassment”.

The proposals may have unintended consequences for gun collectors and shooting clubs - as collectors will have to get a license and face background checks even if they only own deactivated weapons.

There will also be new limits on the ability to buy gun parts and ammunition online. Blank firing weapons will be regulated for the first time because they can be converted to fire live ammunition.

Georg Zakrajsek from the Austrian gun lobby IWÖ has said the proposals are excessive, as they cover harmless gas pistols, which in future would have to be registered as a category C weapon.

Gas pistols look like handguns but only fire tear gas cartridges, and are commonly used for self defence. Zakrajsek said that many women had been buying them after the sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, to help them feel safer at night. He said thousands of gas pistols are owned by Austrian citizens and that the new laws would see “a large number of otherwise law abiding citizens unknowingly criminalized".

Story continues below…

It has been argued that gas guns could be converted to fire live ammunition but the Association of German Gunsmiths (VDB) has said this is not possible, at least for models made in Germany and Austria.

The IWÖ has started a petition against the proposed restrictions on firearms - and has received political support from the right-wing Freedom Party and Eurosceptic populist party Team Stronach. Germany’s VDB has also organized an online petition.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Orban calls refugees 'poison' after Kern meeting
Photo: European People's Party/Wikimedia

Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Tuesday described the arrival of asylum seekers in Europe as "a poison", saying his country did not want or need "a single migrant".

Baby hospitalised after licking discarded drug packet
Emergency services transfering the baby to hospital. Photo: ÖAMTC

A baby is in intensive care in Austria after licking a piece of foil thought to have drugs on it while out for a walk with her parents.

Brits help to give tourism in Vienna a boost
Wien Tourismus/Christian Stemper

Vienna is going through a tourism boom at the moment after seeing significantly more tourists in the first half of this year.

Armed robber evades police capture in Vienna
LPD Wien

An armed thief who robbed a jewellers in Vienna managed to slip away and evade capture despite police surrounding a hotel he escaped into.

Austria and Hungary meet to discuss refugee policy
Refugees cook dinner at the Hungarian border with Serbia. Photo: UNHCR/Zsolt Balla

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern is travelling to Budapest today for talks with the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban over refugee policies.

Human trafficking gang busted in Europe
Photo: LPD Salzburg

Austrian police said Monday that an international operation has smashed an alleged people-smuggling ring suspected of illegally bringing more than 1,000 people from Hungary into western Europe over the past year.

Fireman discovers son's death on call out
Unterstinkenbrunn, near where the accident happened. Photo: Gemeinde Unterstinkenbrunn

A fireman called out to fatal car crash tragically discovers his own son was among those killed.

The best cycle routes in and around Vienna
Photo: YouTube/Hanse3Official

Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular way to get around Vienna and the city has plenty of cycle paths to explore.

Austrian phone addicts taught how to cross the road
Sascha Kohlmann/Creative Commons

Pedestrians offered workshops to remind them how to cross the road without looking at their phones.

Border security tightened after Munich massacre
File Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Austria has "significantly" tightened security measures along its border with Germany and put an elite police force on high alert following the Munich mall attack, a government security chief said Friday.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
2,485
jobs available